Clippers trade rumors: Chris Paul holds cards in potential Kevin Garnett deal

USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers are pushing hard for Kevin Garnett, and although Garnett ultimately has veto power in any deal, Chris Paul may wield nearly as much power in the negotiations.

Trade rumors continue to swirl around Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics, with the Los Angeles Clippers being the primary suitor for the big man. And although Garnett ultimately has the right to veto any deal due to his no-trade clause, there's another man who has nearly as much power in these negotiations: Chris Paul.

As Jeff Clark over at CelticsBlog notes, Paul has leverage with the Clippers thanks to his impending free agent situation. So at the moment, what Paul wants, Paul gets, or at least the Clippers try to get it for him. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski essentially said as much in his latest column:

"If Chris wants Vinny [Del Negro], he'll be the coach," one source tied to the Clippers and Paul said. "If Chris wants [Kevin Garnett], they'll push harder for it."

Paul has nothing but respect for Garnett and admits that he looked up to the veteran for a long time. That certainly sounds like a guy who would not mind if his team went out and tried to acquire said veteran big man. Whether Paul will pressure the Clippers to do so is another thing, but the point is, he could.

For more on these rumors from the Clippers' point of view, check out Clips Nation

So if Paul really does want Garnett, how far are the Clippers willing to go with an offer and would Garnett actually waive his no-trade clause? The Clippers are already reportedly willing to offer up both Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan in a deal, but that might not be enough. Clark suggests perhaps a first round pick or more would do the trick, although again, Garnett would still have to consent to the deal. Garnett has said that he would rather "live and die green," but maybe a few words from Paul and/or the Celtics front office would convince him to change his mind.

It's still hard to fathom the Celtics dealing Garnett, but there certainly is a lot of smoke here. And like it or not Celtics fans, it could be Paul that helps decide whether or not this thing does down.

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